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Pigeon Guillemot


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A seabird of the northern Pacific, the Pigeon Guillemot is found along rocky coasts from Alaska to California. It spends more time close to shore than other members of the puffin family.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
11.8–13.8 in
30–35 cm
21.7–23.2 in
55–59 cm
15.9–19.4 oz
450–550 g
Other Names
  • Guillemot du Pacifique (French)
  • (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Pigeon Guillemot is one of the few members of the auk and puffin family to lay two eggs. Nearly all others lay only one egg, but the three guillemots of the genus Cepphus and the four murrelets in the genus Synthliboramphus usually lay two.
  • The Pigeon Guillemot feeds in shallower waters than most auks, puffins, or murrelets. Although it is known to dive to depths greater than 45 meters (148 feet), it feeds best in waters of only 10 to 20 meters (33-66 feet) deep.
  • The Pigeon Guillemot often scales vertical rock faces by some vigorous flapping of its wings combined with the use of the sharp claws on its webbed feet.
  • The oldest recorded Pigeon Guillemot was at least 15 years, 2 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Washington.



Nests on rocky coastlines; forages in near-shore waters.



Fish, crustaceans, and marine invertebrates.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–2 eggs
Egg Description
Pale cream, may be tinged greenish or bluish, with large and small dark blotches, often concentrated in ring around large end.
Condition at Hatching
Covered with black down and can move about on land.
Nest Description

Shallow scrape in sand, soil, or gravel. Placed in cavity, crevice, or burrow, usually in cliff or boulder fields.

Nest Placement



Surface Dive

Dives under water to capture prey, using its wings to swim.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

There is little information on population trends of Pigeon Guillemot, but numbers appear stable. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental population of less than 69,000 breeding birds, rates the species a 13 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and lists it as a Species of Moderate Concern. This species is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Pigeon Guillemot numbers declined due to oil pollution and disturbance from humans and livestock in early 1900s, and probably by food shortages during warm-water years.


Range Map Help

Pigeon Guillemot Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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